Scientific Realism Reinvigorated

This British Academy funded Mid-Career Fellowship project aim to develop and defend a novel “minimal realist” position towards foundational theorising.

How should we trust foundational physical theories, such as those describing light waves (electromagnetic waves) and light particles (photons)? What kind of knowledge do they provide of the unobservable reality?

Minimal realism recommends trusting such theories as good representations of the unobservable reality while withholding a judgment as to which features of reality these foundational theories truly represent. It aims to account for the impressive predictive and explanatory success of our best current theories in terms of their representational relationship to reality, yet in a way that is compatible with radical revisions of belief in future science regarding, for example, the nature of light and where and how it exists. It also account for the foundational disagreements about to best interpret physical theories at the quantum level, for example.

During this project I (almost) wrote a book that offers definitive statement of this philosophical position in the context of several decades of philosophical debate on this topic, contrasting it with alternative views regarding the nature of scientific understanding and knowledge.

You can view my public lectures on scientific realism on Youtube here or below.


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